Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
June 10, 2012
1 Now I say, That
the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
1901 ASV Translation
1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all;
2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father.
3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:
4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
- I. The Problem With Being an Heir: Childishness.
- A. At issue in all of the Scriptures is one item: the quality of a person's experience in his/her present existence as it bleeds over into a fixed and final state.
- 1. In Paul's argument, an "heir" receives an "inheritance".
- a. The issue of an inheritance is the issue of "final state".
- b. The issue of an inheritance is also the issue of a delay in the experience that goes with the inheritance received.
- 2. In Paul's argument, present sufferings can be turned into future advantages (3:4).
- a. The whole idea of present sufferings is the idea of a less than desirable present experience.
- b. The rationale for present sufferings is for an enormously desirable future and final experience. Even those who argue against any rationale for "suffering" will voluntarily go under the knife in order to significantly improve one's future experience. Indeed, one may volunteer to go under the knife solely on the basis of a "hope" that the future will be better than the present.
- 3. In Paul's argument, the critical factor in present suffering in view of future blessedness is a believing perspective.
- a. In addressing the question of whether sufferings will produce a good end result, the entire point is that one needs the right facts and a legitimate logic.
- b. In addressing the issue of right facts and legitimate logic, the bottom line is an after-the-facts conviction of truthfulness.
- B. At issue in Paul's insertion of "childishness" are two realities: no one comes upon the necessary facts and logic quickly or easily, nor does the proper "conviction" automatically follow the facts/logic issues.
- 1. As long as one is a "child", he/she will "think as a child" (1 Corinthians 13:11).
- 2. There are no guarantees that "time" and "exposure to reality" will move a person beyond "childishness".
- a. The "facts" are confused by deceptions.
- b. The "logic" is corrupted by false objectives.
- c . The ability to "believe" is often frustrated by fears so that "there is no reasoning with" the "child".
- 3. But the possibilities exist that "time" and "exposure to reality" will become the tools of the Spirit of God to address these significant hurdles.
- II. The Solution to "Childishness" is "Forced Compliance Over Time".
- A. The issues are three: servanthood; guardianship; and management.
- 1. All three have one root: the lack of the "freedom" to set, or pursue, the agenda.
- 2. Servants are clearly under someone else's authority and power.
- 3. The term "guardian" is used only three times in the entire New Testament and every time the issue is one of significant "overlord" responsibilities as an "underLord" (Matthew 20:8 and Luke 8:3) [in other words, a "guardian" is an upper level servant in a system of tiered servants/tasks].
- 4. The term "manager" is more readily used in the New Testament and is not significantly different from a "guardian" in terms of location within the tiered system, but has a significant focus that does not show up under the "guardian" terminology.
- a. The issue of a "manager" is the issue of being held accountable: 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (Luke 12:42 and 16:1-8).
- b. The use of "manager" after "guardian" implies the "tier" within the household wherein the "guardian" is the primary "underLord" who has delegated various "managers" to take care of the specific issues of their particular area of responsibility.
- 5. Paul's "point" is that the "lord of all" is a "slave" to slaves.
- B. As a "slave to slaves", a "child" is compelled to do a host of things that may, or may not, fit into the child's views of "things I want to do".
- C. This "forced compliance" has the possibility of character formation and the development of wisdom.
- D. This "forced" issue has definitive limits. Paul's terminology is twofold: "as long as he is a child" and "until the time appointed of the father".
- 1. The assumption is that forced compliance will yield desirable results.
- 2. The absence of effectiveness has only one eventuality: never being given the position of "heir of all".